Soft goals scupper U17s
The scoreline doesn't tell the full story of a fairly even Under-17 game with plenty of chances at either end between Wexford Youths and UCD in the Belfield Bowl on Sunday.
UCD 4 Wexford Youths 1
However, Youths gave away some really soft goals, from which they couldn't recover. It wasn't from lack of trying, it turned out to be just one of those days for striker Danny Doyle. He continued to get into great positions, on the end of chances, but nothing would go in for the talented young gun.
UCD are top of the table for a reason. For an Under-17 side they are extremely big and powerful and have an eleven filled with talented players.
As an opponent you can't give away soft goals against a team like that, and Wexford were guilty of just that in the first half hour.
The visitors started on the front foot with Sam O'Neill powering through on the left to force a block to his goalbound shot. However, the Youths right-back spent most of the rest of the game defending as UCD star man Neil Ferrugia attacked with strength and speed.
He gave his side the lead in the tenth minute, calmly slotting past Adam Dunbar after being fed on the edge of the box by Ryan Meaney. Danny Doyle's overhead kick screwed harmlessly wide just after the quarter-hour mark and soon his side fell two behind.
This time it was Dylan Rowe getting deep on the left wing. He crossed to the penalty spot where Seán Quinn headed unchallenged to the top left corner and in off the woodwork.
With Wexford looking a bit dishevelled, Dempsey made a couple of solid saves.
There was nothing the Youths stopper could do to deny John O'Keane scoring from close range in the 30th minute after Ferrugia's delightful dinked ball set him clear.
Immediately Wexford responded when Ciarán Murphy unleashed a stunning 35-yard drive into the top corner of the UCD net.
Mikey Carroll and Doyle both had chances to cut the deficit further before the break but the hosts held out and went in 3-1 ahead.
It was still Youths creating the better chances after the resumption, and Ciarán Murphy, who was excellent, slipped Doyle clear but he poked wide.
The same duo combined in the 58th minute but again Doyle missed the target when clean through. A long Jack Brazzill ball sent Doyle away again on the inside left with 16 minutes to go, and the striker hit the target but Finn McGowan saved.
Then, with 76 minutes on the clock, Ferrugia latched on to Luka Lovic's through ball on the left and crossed for Meaney to tap home at the back post. Doyle went down under pressure in the box with eleven minutes left but referee Stephen Parnell waved away Wexford appeals.
Brazzill's long pass got Doyle away again with nine minutes remaining but he chipped Youths' last good chance wide of the right post.
Wexford face Bray in the cup tonight (Tuesday) before hosting Mervue on Sunday afternoon.
UCD: Finn McGowan; Brandon Perry, Joe Manley (capt.), Luke Boore, Dylan Rowe; Ryan Meaney, Yaya Camara, Jack Ryan, Neil Ferrugia; John O'Keane, Seán Quinn. Subs. - Luka Lovic for Camara (70), Mark Dignam for Ryan (81), also Seán McDonald.
Wexford Youths: Adam Dempsey (capt.); Sam O'Neill, Jack Brazzill, Paddy Barron, Jack Bates; Eddie Black, Craig O'Reilly; Kyle Kennedy, Mikey Carroll, Ciarán Murphy; Danny Doyle. Subs. - Cian Doyle for Carroll, inj. (72), Adham Masoud for Barron (87), also Ronan O'Kelly, Luke O'Neill, Steven Kearns, Ciarán Sheil.
Referee: Stephen Parnell.